The Kansas City Royals missed a second series sweep in a row Sunday, falling 8-3 to the Minnesota Twins in the final game of a 3-game set at Kauffman Stadium.
Ventura was nowhere as crisp as he was in his last outing. Sunday, he lasted four innings, giving up six hits and four runs. He struggled to get into the fifth inning, laboring through 94 pitches. He did have six strikeouts, but offset those with four walks, two of which turned into runs.
The Twins jumped on Ventura early. In the first inning, Brian Dozer led off with a single followed by a Joe Mauer walk. Trevor Plouffe then rocketed a line drive to right-center for a double, scoring Dozer and Mauer and giving the Twins an early 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, Billy Butler hit a one-out single. Justin Maxwell doubled with two outs, moving Butler to third before Alcides Escobar drew a walk to load the bases. The threat ended there when Nori Aoki flew out to center field.
Ventura stumbled again in the fourth. Kurt Suzuki drew a one-out walk. After Aaron Hicks grounded into a fielders choice, Ventura thew a wild pickoff attempt, moving Hicks to second, and Hicks moved to third on a subsequent wild pitch. Eduardo Escobar lined a ball between first and second, scoring Hicks to make it 3-0.
Still, Ventura entered the fifth inning very much in the game. That is, until things started to unravel.
Plouffe led off the inning with a triple followed by a Chris Colabello bloop single, plating Plouffe to make it 4-0. It was Colabello’s 20th RBI in 19 games, and it sent Ventura to the showers. Louis Coleman replaced Ventura and got a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play, striking out Jason Kubel while Salvador Perez gunned down Colabello at second. Josmil Pinto, however, followed with a solo bomb to left-center, making the score 5-0.
Minnesota added three runs in the top of the seventh off rookie Justin Marks, who was making his Major League debut for the Royals. Marks struck out two and walked one in the sixth, but ran into a buzz-saw in the seventh, giving up two singles, two walks and two doubles.
The Royals lone offensive bright spot came in the bottom of the seventh when Escobar hit a 2-run blast to left field, his first home run of the season.
NOTABLES: Billy Butler went 2-4 and has gone 6-14 since being moved to sixth in the batting order over the past four games. Nori Aoki is hitting .286 on the season, and has a lofty .441 average at home vs. a .103 average on the road. The bulk of his at-bats are against righties, and he is hitting .226 against them. Alcides Escobar raised his average to .298, going 2-3 with his fifth double and first home run of the year. Michael Mariot pitched two scoreless innings for the Royals, giving up two hits and striking out two.